Dirt Road Home Facts

June 14, 2007

Wikipedia has two definitions of the term ‘billion’. There’s the short scale and the long scale.

Short scale is the English translation of the French term échelle courte.[1] It refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term is 1,000 times greater than the previous term: “billion” means “a thousand millions” (109), “trillion” means “a thousand billions” (1012), and so on.

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Long scale is the English translation of the French term échelle longue. It refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term is 1,000,000 times greater than the previous term: “billion” means “a million millions” (1012), “trillion” means “a million billions” (1018), and so on.

Depending on who you are talking to, billions could mean 10 digits or 13 digits. I suppose some people could change the digits simply by which political party they are talking about. Let’s play politics and use the 13 digit numbers.

The total number of households that have applied for the dirt poor Road Home is 145,252. Congress has already given Louisiana 6.2 billion for the ‘gravel Road Home’ program and the Blanco administration is saying that the LRA is falling short another 5 billion dollars because congress failed to give correct estimates. (side note – Louisiana said cost for this program would be 7.5 billion dollars, 1.3 billion more than they were given.) Total cost of the LRA is 11.2 billion dollars. The population of Louisiana was 4,468,976 in 2000. Estimates for 2006 now sit at 4,287,768 a decrease of 4.1%. With the pace of outmigration pre-Katrina, it’s reasonable that only 2.5% of the 2000 population is needs recovery money. So let’s do the math.

First the long scale – (billion = 13 digits) would equal $2,506,166.62 per person living in Louisiana during 2000, and $77,107,372.01 per applicant.

Of course we are talking about a governor that can’t even pronounce her own last name correctly so we’d have to assume that they are using the short scale which is incorrect, but the new way of counting billions. Using the same population and applicant figures, here’s the numbers using the short scale.

The total per person pre-Katrina would be $2,506.16 but per applicant the number is $77,107.37.

While Kathleen and company are complaining that Washington underestimated the actual cost, keep in mind, Louisiana estimated the cost to be significantly less than it is. In 2003 when Kathleen Blanco was elected Governor, the state budget was $16.3 billion. This year’s proposed budget is $29 billion in recurring expenditures. Add to that the cost of the ‘long and winding Road Home Program’ that’s over 40 billion she plans to spend this year. That’s 245% of the 2003 budget. She didn’t get anything accomplished but she spent money, lots of it. All I can say is, aren’t you glad you’re not married to that woman?

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